City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: A Storm Chaser Edition

A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Neighborhood News RoundupPut Your Heating Pad to Use: A member of the Cleveland Park email list broadcast explicitly detailed instructions on caring for animals left frazzled in Hurricane Irene's wake. The message includes the following advice: "Baby squirrels knocked out of their nest will often be retrieved by their mothers but it is okay to take in and keep warm during the rains. Bring the baby back to the tree when the storm stops and monitor for half a day"; "Fallen baby birds can be placed back in their nest. If that is not possible, or if you find an injured bird, gently take inside, dry off and put in a cloth lined container and try to keep it warm. A non-auto-shut-off heating pad is ideal but avoid direct contact with the animal."

Bad Timing: On Saturday afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., a member of the New Hill East email list wrote, "Crack in my ceiling and roof is leaking! Can anyone recommend someone right now?" Several other members reminded the poster that they were not likely to get a handyman on-site immediately prior to a hurricane arriving. "Sorry to hear about your situation...but the chances of getting someone to come out today is slim to none. Meanwhile, as much as possible, I would suggest that you refrain from being on the upper floor of the house," wrote one.

Con: A Chevy Chase email list member took to the group to rant about Pepco's "propaganda" efforts prior to the hurricane's arrival. "Pepco is allowed to continue archaic practices in spite of climate trends for increased severe weather. I don't buy into the Pepco propaganda program that cutting down trees is the way to make the power supply more reliable. They say undergrounding wires will damage tree roots. In other towns they put the wiring under the middle of streets to preserve trees," they write. Another member notes, "Given the very high costs of undergrounding existing above ground distribution lines, which range from several hundred thousand to several million dollars per mile, it's not at all clear that undergrounding is cheaper 'in the long run,'" but the original poster isn't convinced. "This should be mandatory with every road reconstruction. It can all be done at the same time saving much money," they retort. There's been no word on whether the original poster—or anyone else in Chevy Chase—actually lost power.

Pro: Over in Shepherd Park, residents were feeling much warmer toward the utility. In an email titled, "PEPCO? Is that you?," a member of the Shepherd Park email list gushes, "Whether by advanced tactical management or sheer blind luck, the lights in my part of SP managed to stay on through the night, which I consider a miror miracle. I send a hearty thanks to men and women of PEPCO on this day." "AGREED!!! Major dap to Pepco. We used to lose power at the shear threat of rain or wind," writes another. And though a third poster was skeptical, writing "Its nice when you have it but there are hundreds and hundreds of homes and businesses in shepherd park, takoma and brightwood that don't. Ill wait to pass judgement thanks. Hopefully, PEPCO will restore faster than in the past. This is getting very old," they followed up an hour later with a positive report. "Ok, power has been restored to 1400 block of Whittier St. For us, PEPCO has performed better than in the past. Let's hope the trend continues for everyone else. Thanks for getting it done."

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